I love learning about the mind. I make art about it. It’s actually quite similar to why a landscape artist might paint a sunset. Nature, whether it is in the sky or in our heads, is mysterious. We long to make some kind of contact with it.
My work is a response to the explosion of cognitive science research of recent decades. The internet has dramatically increased my access to this kind of knowledge. I have made work inspired by a whole host of topics including art’s relationship to neuroscience, systems theory, polarized politics, the history of empathy, perception of time, spiritual experiences, the origin of new ideas, Romanticism, the purpose of dreaming, to name a few.
The psychological feel of my work manifests itself in its process as well as its form. So not only do I make things inspired by podcasts, for example, but I also make things that are completely improvised. Irrational free form imagery exists next to rational direct allusion. This idea is also present in the visual style of my work. Strange and chaotic imagery is created through highly skilled and detailed forms of representation.
Combining these varied approaches mirrors our contemporary understanding of the mind. The researcher Iain McGilchrist writes that the left hemisphere of the brain is a sort of “manager” of what is certain while the right is a sort of “explorer” of what is uncertain. It is on the threshold between the two where a psychological feeling of meaning occurs. Too much attention to the known world and one becomes listless and oppressed by familiarity. Too much attention to the unknown and chaos reigns.
I hope that an art practice centered around this idea will help foster new healthier ways of seeing our uncertain modern selves and civilization.
-artist Brian Cooper about his multidisciplinary creative project, “Earth Like Planets”